FORMER racehorse trainer Rhona Elliot presented the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society with a cheque for more than £11,000 on the last day of the racing season at Kelso.
The fundraiser from The Yett, Hownam, held an Evening Line event at the racecourse, compered by racing broadcaster and journalist Gordon Brown. It raised £11,180.
Former jockey Mrs Elliot has battled MS for more than 20 years and in 2004, she set up the innovative Borders MS Racing Club, a syndicate whose horses run to raise money for, and awareness of, MS.
Evening Line took a format similar to C4 television racing programme, Morning Line and included top eventer Caroline Powell and racehorse trainer Lucinda Russell on the panel.
Mrs Elliot has come up with another fundraising idea for the Borders branch of the MS Society and the Injured Jockey’s Fund.
She asked artists and others in racing to donate small original paintings for sale to support both charities but those purchasing the works don’t know who painted them until after they’ve bought.
Alongside local artists Ginny Fairfax, Susan Crawford and Anne White, contributors include National Hunt jockey Choc Thornton, racehorse trainer Henry Cecil, former jockey turned novelist and TV presenter John Francome and racehorse trainer Andrew Balding.
Mrs Elliot said: “This is a fun way to support two very worthy causes and, in so doing, have the opportunity to own an original and unique work of art, possibly painted by an internationally renowned artist that otherwise would not be possible.
“People choose the picture they like. A lot are from very famous artists and can be very valuable.”
About half the CD-size originals in the Secret Art project have sold, raising more than £10,000 so far
Mrs Elliot said: “The support from all areas has been amazing and the standard of art outstanding. We have even received some delightful contributions from the young children of trainers and jockeys who were keen to help.
“The paintings weren’t all of horses but I did source horsey artists and most are to do with the countryside.”
The initiative was launched with an exhibition at Cheltenham Festival in March before it toured other racecourses.